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Acute vs. Chronic Injury Treatment - What is Best?

Hi, so here is some information I think is important, and I see alot of people get wrong, even highly educated people in the medical community confuse these regularly.

Acute Injury: New injury, usually a few days old or less. For sprains, strains, pulled muscles, lower back, neck, shoulder, upper back, hip, knee, ankle, or foot pain, RICE has been the most commonly recommended acronym for treatment.

R: Rest

I: Ice

C: Compression

E: Elevation

Obviously, if something is painful, it would be a good idea to rest it, and stop using it when it is painful. (if your ankle hurts to walk on it… don’t! Sit or use crutches) This does not mean it must be completely immobilized in many or all cases, but it should not be used the same is it was prior to the injury.

Ice is the most commonly used form of cryotherapy after an injury. It does help reduce swelling, and reduces pain. It should never be used more than 20 minutes at a time, and a good rule of thumb is to remove it as soon as it starts to feel good or numb.

Compression is becoming the new trend in managing acute injuries. Wraps, tape, cuffs, and compression wear are all the trend to reduce swelling, while not eliminating good circulation. Some studies suggest it can lead to faster healing. I personally like compression, along with ice for acute injuries. Better than ice are products like cryoderm, which have the same cooling affect as ice, but also have other ingredients to speed up healing and reduce inflammation, like Ilex, Boswella, MSM, and Arnica.

Elevation can also be helpful to use gravity to pull fluid out of an injured area, by keeping it above heart level.

Other great things to use: Traumeel homeopathic cream, oral, or injections to reduce pain and inflammation as well as induce healing. I also have had great success with myself and patients with the use of Wei FASTT patches. They incorporate 26 healing herbs in a patch that can be applied directly to an injury site, and increase micro circulation and reduce healing times significantly.

Chronic Injury: Old injury, usually months or years old. These may recur, or continue to bother a person due to severity or injury, improper healing, or arthritic changes.

This is when heat is commonly applied, but it should not be “slept on, or left on” for more than 20 minutes. Even if it feels great.

For injuries in between, or more towards chronic status, Contrast Therapy is often most effective. This combines the use of Ice and heat to maximize their effects. I often tell people to to 10 min on of heat, then 1o min of nothing, ending with 10 min of cold. This helps get new circulation and material in, while getting rid of wastes and old material.

Hopefully this info clarifies some things about new and old injuries. Of course they should be looked at by a properly trained medical professional, and this info is in no way intended to diagnose, or treat any injuries without proper medical advise.

For people in Parkland, Coral Springs, Coconut Creek and beyond, we would be happy to evaluate your injuries and give you a proper diagnosis, and treatment to help you heal smoothly and quickly. Call us today to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you heal from your injury.


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